Of course, California should decriminalize magic mushrooms



It must be recognized that after more than half a century of demonization and criminalization of drugs, the idea of ​​legalizing substances as powerful and fabled as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms can be hallucinatory. This is in part because Americans have become so addicted to the prohibition and punishment of drug use, a distorted reality, that despite the growing exemption for marijuana, despite all the evidence that its benefits are conceited and harming everyone, we continue to live too current.

With cannabis still illegal at the federal level, legalizing other controlled substances is likely to be a long, strange journey ahead of us. But California reached a kind of milestone on Thursday when Senator Scott Wiener legislation to decriminalize a number of psychedelics survived a major legislative bottleneck on the Senate Funds Committee, clearing the way for a full chamber vote over the next two weeks. The Senate should pass the bill for a variety of sober reasons.

San Francisco Democrat legislation, SB519, would allow Californians 21 and older to own plants and mushrooms containing psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, and mescaline for personal use and uncompensated exchange with others preserve and cultivate. It follows the reasonable lead of a few American cities, including Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver, and Washington, DC, and one state, Oregon, where officials or voters have recently decriminalized or deprioritized the prosecution of mushrooms and other psychedelic substances for years. We’re still waiting for one of these jurisdictions to be overrun by acid victims or jam bands.

Laws like the Senator’s recognize that these drugs are less lethal and less addicting than statutory drugs like opioids and completely legal substances like alcohol and tobacco.

In fact, drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA were studied for therapeutic benefits before they were banned and more recently. The Food and Drug Administration has classified psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” showing promise for treating depression, and Wiener’s bill is supported by veterans groups who say such drugs have helped treat post-traumatic stress and other conditions. Wiener’s measure would also make it possible to prescribe psychedelics by doctors, which are not subject to the strictest federal ban. And it would set up a working group of the Ministry of Health to advise the legislature on the regulation of drugs.

None of this suggests that the drugs should be taken lightly or by minors. Their reported benefits must be proven through further investigation – which, incidentally, are unnecessarily hampered by bans – and their potential harm should be seriously considered. But none of these goals are promoted by criminalization.

The drug ban is highly effective as a law enforcement employment program that constitutes the bulk of the organized opposition to SB519. Politics was largely launched as a racist and political weapon, not a health or safety measure, and it shows. The war on drugs has brought many more people – disproportionately colored people – to courts and prisons, but American drug use and abuse continues to advance.

Our drug war continues, too, in that a Central Valley woman who used methamphetamine, one of the less fashionable drugs that is not being considered decriminalizing, was unsuccessfully indicted for the murder of her stillborn child. Who is crazy

This comment was edited by The Chronicle. We invite you to express your opinion in a letter to the editor. Please send your letter using our online form: SFChronicle.com/letters.



Comments are closed.